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Gift Idea: Pie in a Jar

Need A Great Gift Idea?

I’m excited to share with you today this DIY gift idea! On your Christmas list this year, is there a teacher–maybe a piano or violin teacher who you need a little gift for?  Looking for a gift for a Grandma or Grandpa who doesn’t need a thing? 

Have your children been cared for by a babysitter or nanny? Is there a neighbor that you’d like to bless with something homemade? Maybe a couple or a family that you don’t know well yet, but you’d like to introduce yourself, and give just a little something as a Hello gift?  Would you like to thank your mail delivery person, who faithfully brings you your mail every day all year long? So many people you’d like to say Merry Christmas to, in some small way!  You don’t want to spend a lot of money, but, still have it be meaningful! Well, this is the perfect gift idea for every one of them.  I’m sure they would enjoy receiving a homemade Pie in a Jar! 

People To Bless With A Small Handmade Gift

  • Piano, Violin, or other, Teacher
  • Babysitter
  • Grandparents
  • Single neighbor or friend
  • A Couple or Family
  • Mail Delivery Person

Gift-Giving As Hospitality

Have you ever thought of gift-giving as showing Hospitality?  Well, in a sense it is!  Or it can be! Here is one way to open up your heart and home to others and bring the love of Christ to them! For years, we brought a little something around to the neighbors in our circle (5 in all, plus a couple nearby), and paid a personal visit. It’s so easy to become disconnected from others, and never see our neighbors in our busy lives. As Christians, we can show the love of Christ in this simple way, and show hospitality! Here is one of the small gifts that we brought to give!

Find step-by-step instructions below for making these simple, but delicious gifts! Pie in a Jar!

Pie crust, Filling and a Jar

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Step 1 – Jars

You need half-pint jars that are short and fat, not tall and skinny, in other words, as wide at the top as they are at the bottom. I’ve provided a link to the kind of jars  you’ll need.

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Step 2Recipe for Pie Crust

*Store bought pie crusts work wonderfully, too and are so simple We like Pet Ritz brand or try this gluten free pie crust mix I’ve linked to.

You can also make your favorite pie crust recipe. Here’s the one handed down from my mother-in-law, published in the Camp J.I.M. cookbook, and used for over 70 years! (Yes, it says lard, which can be difficult to find, so I include a link to it, and both of them lived into their 90’s, and ate a lot of pies, so I guess it didn’t kill them:) 

You Cannot Make This Pie Crust Tough! 

  • 4 cups flour
  • 3 tsp brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 lb lard 
  • 1 tsp vinegar
  • 1 egg plus enough water to make 3/4 cup

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Step 3Directions for Homemade Pie Crust

Mix together until the consistency of biscuit dough.  Don’t be afraid to mix well as the dough will not toughen.  Add flour to roll.  Makes enough for 4 regular size double pies. You will get about 4 Pies in a Jar from 1 of these, or 16 Pies in a Jar from this recipe.  

The dough keeps well in the refrigerator for a week or two.  Or you can divide up leftover dough and freeze in Ziploc plastic bags.

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Step 4 – Directions for Assembly of Pie in a Jar

You can either make a top of crust or make a crumb crust.  If you want it from dough, then use the ring of the jar to cut out a top for your pie, or eyeball it.  (Now set that aside for later.)Press dough into the jar bottom and sides, but keep it somewhat thin. Otherwise, we found that it was too heavy on the crust side. So, line the jar with dough (just use your fingers) and go all the way to the top.  (You don’t need to grease the jar.)

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Step 5 Filling: You need about 1/2 cup per jar

We used apple and cherry.  For the cherry, we used canned cherry pie filling, actually.  Surprisingly, using the recipe below, it could have been a little sweeter–add the sugar according to the sweetness of your fruit.  Fill your crust-lined jar with your filling, about 1/2 cup, put your favorite crumb topping on top, or the piece of pre-cut dough that you set aside, pinch it together and make a couple of slits or a cut-out in the top to let out steam, just like a regular pie, and put the lid on and make it tight.

Your Home For God, DIY-pie-in-a-jar-gift

  • 2 cups prepared fruit (pitted, diced, peeled, etc.) 
  • 2 Tbsp sugar, brown or white (use more or less depending on sweetness of fruit)
  • 2 Tbsp flour (again, more if your fruit is super juicy like cherries, less if it’s pretty dry)
  • 1 Tbsp butter (divided between the pies)
  • Seasonings/flavorings- cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla and almond extract, citrus zest, etc.)

Our Favorite Pie in a Jar:  Cherry Pie using the Pet Ritz pie crust and  canned cherry pie filling!! 

Yeah, who would have thought? But, how simple is that!?! 

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Step 6Freeze Them!

Now, you can FREEZE THEM!  Yeah, that’s the best part.  You can make them up ahead and when you need a gift, or you want to show some HOSPITALITY, you can just take one or more of these cuties out of the freezer!  If you want, you can decorate the jars. A simple card stock tag with a little message like Homemade with Love, or From Our House to Yours, and a hole through the top tied around the jar with raffia or ribbon would be cute. 

Instructions For Baking From Frozen State

To BAKE (don’t forget to include these instructions if giving these as a gift):To bake from frozen state, take the cover off, place on a cookie sheet, and put them in the oven and bake at 375 degrees F. for 50 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown.  If you’re worried about the jars breaking, don’t.  It’s never happened in hundreds of tries, and they ARE canning jars, after all, but if you’re still worried, you can put them in a cold oven on a cookie sheet, without the lids, and then turn on your oven which will allow them to warm up with the oven.  You can, of course, also let them sit out for awhile on the counter before putting them in the oven.

Instructions For Baking Pie in a Jar Fresh

If baking fresh, they take about 45 minutes.We did it both ways and had no problems!  Aren’t these really cute?  Now you’re ready to share Hospitality–all wrapped up in a Home-baked gift of a Pie in a Jar.

Image result for pie in a jar

I think this is a great gift idea! I hope you’ll bless someone with this simple gift soon! Which kind of pie do you want to try?

Wendy Gunn, Your Home For God, help

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